As Jupiter turned direct this week, the Dow rose above 10,000 for the first time in over a year, inspiring many financial experts to crow that the recession is over. The stock market has been in a continual upward climb since it fell to its lowest level in March of this year, driven primarily by optimism that an improving housing market and the recovery of the financial companies will drive the economy back into gear.
We can tie this recovery to a conjunction of Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune that began back in February and while for many people this has been a planetary cycle of deep personal growth, there is always the danger when Jupiter’s optimism combines with Neptune’s propensity to ignore the facts that we fall into illusion.
Articles like this entitled “Record Streak Continues for Pending Home Sales” are fueling the optimism: “Pending home sales have increased for seven straight months, the longest in the series of the index which began in 2001, according to the National Association of Realtors®.” This is deceptive in a couple of ways: first, the market seven months ago was at its worst in decades; and second, much of the increase in home sales is driven by the tax credit for first-time home buyers. Meanwhile, foreclosure levels just hit a new record, affecting 1 in 136 American homeowners. More foreclosures means more housing inventory, which means a continued slide in prices.
A drop in the number of people filing for unemployment insurance also fueled optimism on Wall Street, but these numbers don’t reflect the vast numbers of people whose right to unemployment insurance has expired. The national unemployment rate of 9.8% does not include the numbers of workers who have given up on finding a job – that number is estimated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics at 17%.
I suspect that Jupiter’s change of direction is the major culprit in the overwhelming desire to see the good in a bad situation. Optimism is a beautiful thing, but I wouldn’t be investing in the stock market right now unless you want to ride it for a couple of weeks. Saturn is moving into Libra at the end of October (more on that coming up soon), and Saturn changing signs usually demands a wake-up call of some kind. Saturn creates tests in whatever sign it moves through, and in Libra, ruled by Venus which is the planet of attraction and wealth as well as love, there could be some interesting financial situations.
Saturn last entered Libra back in the fall of 1980, coinciding with a decline in the GDP and a rise in the unemployment rate. The unemployment rate exceeded 10% and peaked in November of 1982, just as Saturn and Pluto conjoined in Libra, and the economic situation began to improve once Saturn entered Scorpio, the sign of investing and other people’s money.
I am afraid that when Saturn and Pluto face off in November and December there may be a sharp awakening. This is a good time for saving and gathering what we need for the winter. There will be a break in the clouds next spring which will provide another opportunity for optimism in the stock markets.